Coping with anxiety through nature and art.

We all try and cope with anxiety in different ways. Mine is eating lots of potatoes, and more recently, finding my love of nature once again.

I don’t have much free time, I grab a free hour in the evening before I go to sleep or at weekends, after all my chores are done, after I’ve visited Mum and Dad and completed all the other things that need doing, a few hours on a Sunday is treasured.

For most of us it is increasingly difficult to not be aware of the negative and worrying news we hear, read or see, each and every day. We may feel strong, like we are coping, but often, our anxieties slowly and sneakily creep up on us and can manifest themselves in many different ways.

In recent months I’ve turned to trying my hand at nature art and studying the beauty of the nature that surrounds us. I’m also starting to create short nature studies using video for relaxation and to also take my thoughts away to observing, creating and feeling wonderment at life’s beauty, not just negativity.

I’m sitting here typing this, drinking a cup of lukewarm tea and about to have a scrub and jump into bed having spent an hour or two working on some more nature art and creating a short video. It is all very therapeutic.

I’d love to hear how you are coping with your anxiety.

Much love, Carolyn xxxx

Potato Peel Pie – Recipe No. 194

Traditional Guernsey Potato Peel Pie

Last month I watched a wonderful film called “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” and absolutely loved it. I loved it even more when 20 minutes into the movie a strange wartime dish called ‘Potato Peel Pie’ made an appearance, a insipid looking creation facilitating the gag reflex of all uninitiated humans who tasted it. That was enough for me to want to re-create it. Surely it couldn’t have been THAT bad?

Traditional Guernsey Potato Peel Pie was made of 3 ingredients, potatoes, beetroot and milk. With little flour or butter available to the islanders during German occupation, the potato peelings were used to create an open pie crust of sorts instead, into which mashed potato and chopped beetroot was added and then baked in the oven. I absolutely love potatoes but even I could see that without a few extras here and there and even with copious amounts of salt and pepper, this dish was going to be bland without some artistic licence!

I simply added some chopped spring onion (although leeks would have been good to use too) and some margarine to facilitate a pleasing taste. The ‘Potato Peel Pie’ was very tasty, I didn’t skimp on the salt and pepper because without these it would have indeed been very bland.

Here is the recipe for the authentic WW2 “Guernsey Potato Peel Pie” with my additions noted.

WW2 Guernsey Potato Peel Pie


  • 2 large potatoes
  • Dash of milk
  • Beetroot
  • Salt & pepper
  • (I also added spring onion and margarine)


  1. Wash your two large potatoes and peel the potatoes
  2. Par-boil the potato skins for 3-5 minutes
  3. Drain and set aside
  4. Grease a two person size pie dish
  5. Place the potato peels on the bottom and around the sides
  6. Dot in some margarine
  7. Press the peels down a little to the bottom and sides and sprinkle with salt
  8. Dice up some slices of beetroot (I used some pickled beetroot) and dot around the base
  9. Place pie dish in a pre-heated oven at 220C until the potato peels are properly cooked and the edges are browning
  10. Cut your remaining peeled potatoes into chunks and boil until cooked.
  11. Drain and set aside.
  12. Cut up onions or leeks and fry until cooked in a pan
  13. Add in the cooked potato chunks and mash adding in milk where needed and lots of salt and pepper
  14. Place the mash into the potato peel pie crust
  15. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and continue baking in the oven until the top is lightly crisped.
  16. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes before serving

Serves 2.

PS: Check out my Art Channel here:

10 great 1940s ration book recipes to celebrate VE Day

Hi all, just thought I’d re-blog this page I put together last year on the lead up to VE Day. In May last year I wasn’t working so had lots of time on my hands to blog, create, garden, walk, read and essentially more time for self-care.

I hope everyone is well and is beginning to see the light through the trees. I know in the UK we certainly are beginning to feel that way.

I’ve been working from home since end of October but return to my office in 2 weeks time. The last 6 months especially have been a challenge as I’m sure it has been for everyone in many ways.

Please forgive my absence. Have kept in contact via social media now and again but really had to step back and not commit to saying I’ll do things as I’ve been struggling to fulfill my promises so literally have had to focus everything on keeping my job and these days I am exhausted and in bed around 8 pm!! (not asleep but snuggled under the duvet reading or watching tutorials on YouTube)

But despite these sporadic mental health anomolies, I’m happy and starting to go outside again and have a new interest in art which is really helping to relax me.

It’s stormy and beautiful outside this afternoon. Love hearing the wind in the trees.

Much love,

C xxxxx

The 1940's Experiment

With Victory in Europe Day (75th Anniversary) coming up on May 8th, 2020, I noticed that over the past few days I’ve had a lot of searches for ‘VE Day Party Recipes’ visiting my website. I thought maybe it would be helpful to perhaps pick 10 tasty (and occasionally bizarre) recipes that could be fun to make and taste and provide some authentic WW2 ration book recipe treats for those planning celebrations.

There is all sorts of fun below including vinegar cake, carrots in cookies, marmite filling, pink blancmange party cake and not forgetting parsnip sandwiches (OK mock banana), beetroot pudding and mock brains. Fun for all the family and frugal too!

Enjoy the experience! (don’t worry you WILL live!)

C xxxx

1. WW1 Ration Scones:  Let’s start with a sensible one for the adults! The basic recipe dates back from WW1 and you can add all sorts to…

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January 10th, 2021

Since I last typed I’ve returned to work after the Christmas break (working from home) and suddenly realised how all my days are taken up with work and little time to do anything else except prepare food and deal with necessary things before falling into bed. This week I managed to walk for just one early morning before my work day started and by the time the days finish it is dark so I just didn’t go out.

My mental health thrives on being able to get outside in the fresh air multiple times in the day (in a ideal scenario) but when one works full time, especially during winter, it’s a challenge. I love working and having my brain stimulated, I love the job I do but if I’m brutally honest, I NEED to be able to devote more time to my health and well being. Life is so brief, so fleeting, every day is beautiful, it seems a shame to miss these moments behind a desk. It’s finding a happy balance where you can earn enough to pay your bills and save a little while having the time to spend on those things that call you, that make you happy, that are fundamental to your well being. At the moment I need all the money I earn to keep a roof over my head (my daughter and I) and food on the table. I am sure most of us do this, its life. But I’m feeling more tired these days.

I turned 55 a couple of days ago. I had a couple of days off work, took my van in for it’s MOT (it passed!) and spent lots of time taking myself off for walks (we have been advised to take just one form of exercise a day during lockdown but it’s not law). I’ve felt during the last few days, that if I haven’t walked briskly outside twice a day I may have become sad and turned to food so I’ve walked early morning and late afternoon when it’s been very quiet and in places where I hardly see a soul. It’s keeping me sane and away from the kitchen cupboards. I worry so much that being behind a desk all day again will send me into a downward spiral with my addiction to over eating/food.

BUT with starting to walk outside again when I can, it has had a positive affect. I’m eating some very nutritious meals, mostly wholefoods, plant-based and the combination of the well-being felt from the walking, I’ve not over eaten and have dropped 8 lbs in 7 days (a lot of peeing so a lot of water weight!). I’m hoping with perseverance I’ll soon lose the weight gain over the last couple of months and work towards moving out of the obesity category.

I’m still working on the Pandemic Cookbook. When I say working I haven’t done all week because after work and doing chores its mid-evening and I’m falling asleep. I just can’t keep awake. I have next Saturday set aside to put a few more hours in and I’ll just keep moving forward and get there soon! My brain still thinks like I am a 30 year old where I did everything far, far quicker than I do these days!

Finally, everyone is in my thoughts with the spread of the new variant of Covid-19. It is thought around 1 in 30 people in the UK has now got the virus. Some areas less, some areas more. Special thoughts to our American friends too, both our countries have similar percentages on our infected and Covid deaths. I know it must be a difficult time right now, politically too. Lets hope everything gets better for everyone soon.

Best wishes to all,

Stay safe, C xxxxx

PS: Below is some of the food I’ve eaten this week which I’ve been sharing on Instagram.

PPS: I’ve just read my post back. I want to apologize, I really don’t have ANYTHING to complain about in the big scheme of things. I’m lucky, very lucky. Was just letting off a little frustration I guess. Hope everyone stays healthy xxxxxx

January 3rd, 2021

My third awesome day in a row.

A short 30 minute morning walk through ‘Queen’s Park’ to say hello to the squirrels and see the next generation of swans getting older. They have grown so fast…

Today is rather gray. Yesterday was cold with brilliant sunshine, and of course, as you know if you read my update below, we had a little snow which reminded me of my 9 years in Canada. The difference with winter snow in the South of England is that unless you are at elevation, if we get any snow it tends to stop at 1/2 inch. In Canada of course, there were times when I wondered if it would ever stop snowing and every winter we could expect a few severe storms which would deposit a couple of feet of snow.

Maybe the snow was the catalyst to get me out of the front door again. Whatever it was I’m so glad I did as it has done me the world of good and I’m already feeling happier.

I’ve decided to do Veganuary for the first time ever. A bit of a back story that may or may not interest you but about 9 years ago I decided to give veganism a try. It had a very positive impact on my health for a while as I mostly ate wholefoods, plant-based so processed foods were minimal. Moving back to the UK, it became easier for me to occasionally allow dairy and egg back into my life and I’ve been vegetarian now for several years but I’ve always hankered to return to what feels better for me, in my heart. So in January I’m am making an effort to return to my roots by converting back over step by step.

Yesterday I made an amazing vegan chilli, I took a few snaps with my phone and shared them on my Instagram with the recipe. Whether you eat meat or not, this is REALLY tasty and very high in protein and fibre and slow release carbs. If you click on the photos below you can see the details clearer. The only thing I omitted to say was that I also added a low salt veggie stock cube and some extra hot water.

I’m still aiming to have the Pandemic Pantry cook book out this weekend, I’ll keep you updated.

Have a lovely Sunday,

C xxxxxxx

January 1st, 2021

A lovely start to the New Year, just getting outside for a short walk down to Queens Park to admire the frosted scenery. We even had a very light sprinkling of snow.

It’s pretty much been the only time I’ve gone out for a proper walk in several weeks as I’ve been struggling with some self confidence issues having piled on about 2.5 stone (35 lbs) in the last 7 or 8 weeks. The lure of a crisp, snowy morning set my inhibitions firmly to one side and the simple act of enjoying a slow, thoughtful walk definitely improved my mental well being. Going forward, if it’s not pouring with rain, I’ll be starting most days this way. I almost forgot the profoundly positive effect outdoors and nature has on my psyche.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year. Be kind, be happy. C xxxxx

Merry Christmas 2020

I wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, a few days late I know…Am sincerely hoping that you all had a wonderful day during these troubling times.

I know we are stoic on here, and are capable of dealing with many challenges that life can throw at us, we ARE survivors, BUT the last 9 months have been a slow, meandering, unmarked path through the woodlands with unknown obstacles to overcome, to conquer. With only glimpses of the winter sun finding it’s way to us through the momentary gaps that emerge through the trees on our paths, the journey seems dark at times, and unsettling, but those pockets of dappled sunlight, with their ethereal indications of a greater force, our nature, our planet, is comforting. We WILL see an end to these unprecedented times, we will have lived through history in the making, and we will be stronger.

Listen to me being all poetic. It’s hard to put these feelings into words so the paths, woodland and sunlight are metaphorical for the emotions I’m sure most of us are experiencing. After the gales last night, today I see bright sunlight so there is hope.

Every day life update

Am so grateful for time off over Christmas. I’ve been so grateful for my new job which I started in August, I’ve put my all into it, worked hard, worked out of hours improving my skills to bring to the job. Consequently, this impacts on time to blog as I’m finding myself rather exhausted at weekends and on catch up. TODAY is the first free day with nothing else that needs doing so I am doing what I love, BLOGGING!

The Pandemic Pantry Cookbook will be completed and am hoping with three more full free days ahead of me, it will be finished and distributed for FREE to anyone who wants one on January 8th 2021 (my 55th birthday!), and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those who submitted recipes. I wish I was able to have finished it sooner, there has always seemed like something else has had to take priority, maybe it’s just me.

Am full of hope and optimistic for 2021 and wish everyone the best of health and happiness for the year ahead.

C xxxxx

PS: I’m going to update my blog regularly with small diary like submissions with the occasional recipe. I think this will work better, I do so miss posting.

Wartime Christmas Cake – Ministry of Food – Recipe No. 156

Just giving this old recipe a bump! I’ll likely try and new wartime recipe for Christmas Cake this year but this one did come out well!

The 1940's Experiment

So here is the first promised Wartime Christmas themed recipe for our ‘Wartime Christmas Countdown’ here on

This is a recommended Christmas Cake recipe from the Ministry of Food in the mid 1940’s and the rationed ingredients make a very acceptable cake. My son works in Tesco’s so I was able to go shopping last night with him and get a 10% discount on my shopping! (he has a staff discount card!). Every little bit helps!

Wartime Christmas Cake – Ministry of Food

4 oz (115g) margarine
3 oz (85g) of soft brown sugar
1 lb dried mixed fruit
2 reconstituted dried eggs or 2 fresh eggs
3 level tablespoons of warmed treacle or golden syrup
8 oz (225g) of plain flour
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
3 tablespoons of cold strained tea
(I also…

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Breaking free of the cage..

I think the last few times my weight had risen to above 340 lbs was in 2003 and 2005 and around 2007. The biggest I’ve been since then is 325 lbs several times. In 2003 I tipped 350 lbs, my feet swelled horrendously, I didn’t take care of myself as I should, was actually very anxious and depressed and felt ugly and embarrassed to be out. My state of mind now is so different now in contrast even though my journey is a little over halfway done. Losing 100 lbs has made such a huge difference in many aspects of my life. I’ve grown stronger mentally and physically and I love being a single, independent woman.

It sucks a bit leaving it this long to finally be getting things right, wish I’d felt stronger then to do something about it but dealing with it now will mean there is much to look forward to as I lose more weight. Being less limited by my physical size really does have a positive impact on my happiness.

This is an ongoing battle, it will be with me for the rest of my life but every year that passes I feel like I’m getting more control over it.

I am determined to reach my 175 lbs goal ultimately but my biggest goal has to be getting out of the 200’s forever and never returning. This action in itself will have such a positive impact on my health and right now this is what is important to me.

Sending much love to everyone who has struggled long term with morbid and super morbid obesity. There is definitely a precipice, a point when it’s far less painful to carry on gaining love and comfort and being soothed by food than the hell on earth trying to wean yourself off the false love it gives you and face the struggles and unkindness of the real world when you venture outside….

Take care, keep fighting

C xxxx


Back on track to lose half my body weight.

Thanks for the good lucks and messages on Facebook regarding getting stuck back into my health and weight loss battle.

I appreciate that I’ve been in this very same position sooo many times in the past several years that its impossible to count BUT I honestly just keep battling…chipping away, then gaining, brushing off the dust and getting back up again. The way I look at it is I am currently almost 100 lbs less than I was when I was super depressed and super morbidly obese. Am just 10 lbs off being out of the morbid obesity category too which will mean my BMI will be 39 (my BMI at its highest was 57).

I know there is a long way to go to get to a healthy weight. NHS says I should be no more than 11st 4 lbs which is 158 lbs but to be quite honest I’d be so very happy and thrilled to reach 12st 7lbs which is 175 lbs and maintain it with a healthy lifestyle.

Just in a happier place right now in all aspects of my life.

Am happy feeling healthier and working towards adding years to my life, LOVE being single and psychologically the depression has years gone. Being without a job right now has had some benefits too, the exhaustion has mostly lifted and I have time right now to focus on getting my health sorted.

I REALLY appreciate all your encouragement and am confident that this time next year won’t be talking about my weight all the time because I will have reached goal and will have learned how to control my urges.

Thanks so much again! Off to burn calories in the garden now!

C xxx

PS: Don’t forget to check out or enter this competition to win this BEAUTIFUL cottage! I’m dreaming of this golden ticket every single day! CLICK HERE